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By Kendall Jenkins on 2019-11-30 10:35:00

Fall is your chance to eliminate the dead vegetation that remains from summer, clear your gutters out, tidy up the borders of your garden and more. It is the season to pick up and pack down before winter arrives. The following are ten of our best tips to help you get the most out of your fall garden. 

1. Scrub shade paint off the windows 

As the nights grow longer, make the most of whatever available light you have by scrubbing the shade paint off of your greenhouse windows. That will allow more of the rays of the sun through the glass, to help winter temperatures increase a bit higher, which will help you save money on your heating bills. 

All it takes to get your glass sparkling clean is some hot water and elbow grease. It is also a good time for you to check the window panes and replace any damaged ones. Clear out the gutters on your greenhouse as well.

2. Fall Cleaning 

Before you overwinter any tender plants, take everything out of the greenhouse, sweep away plant debris, and then disinfect all of the staging and paths, including the interior of the glass. To help prevent fungal infection and pests, use a solution of Jeyes Fluid or garden disinfectant. 

Over the next few days ventilate the greenhouse to thoroughly dry it out. Clean seed trays and pot to prepare for spring planting and sowing. 

Trees will also lose their coverings at this time of the year and this means you will need to rake leaves up and mulch what you gather. Trees such as oaks, chestnut and even maple trees create a lot of falling foliage and can provide great fertiliser You can read more about taking care of trees such as the maple and learn how to look after them for the long term on  Gardeners Path. Their guide provides a cradle to the grave guide on looking after such trees. 

3. Tidy up the borders 

In order to ensure that you have a vibrant display of color next spring, dig your annuals up and plant the beds with wallflowers, Bellis daisies, and pansies. Cut back any perennials that have faded, but don't make things too neat. Insects love seeds heads, and they look great covered up in dew, to offer a beautiful winter silhouette. 

After the borders are neat and tidy, spread out a thick layer of well-rotted manure, bark chips, or compost. Don't bother to dig it in - allow the worms to do this.

4. Lawn enforcement

Use a spring-tined rake to get rid of moss and thatch. Add it onto your compost pile. If you have a lot of moss, you might want to first apply a moss killer to your lawn. Then add a sandy top dressing. Finally, apply a fall lawn feed to get your lawn prepared for the cold winter weather.  

Improve aeration and drainage around the play areas and paths by using the prongs on your garden fork to make deep holes about 10 inches apart. Fall is a great time to also lay new turf. That gives it plenty of time to get established before the next summer arrives. 

5. Make leaf mold 

Leaf mold adds organic matter and structure to the old and is an excellent way to recycle your fallen leaves. Select a sheltered area that will not spoil your garden view and use wooden stakes and wire mesh to make a big bin. Fit it will leaves, spray it with water and allow it to sit. 

After the leaves are a crumbly texture, add mulch to the borders. Hornbeam, beech, alder, and oak all rot fairly quickly. Sweet chestnut, horse chestnut, walnut, and sycamore might take a bit longer. If you first shred the leaves, it will help to speed things up a bit. In general, this process will take around two years to complete.  

6. Clear out your compost bins 

Fall clean up of your vegetable plots and borders always produces an abundance of plant material to go on your compost pile. Now is the perfect time to clear last year's compost out and use it around your garden to make room for waste from this year. 

If your compost is not ready yet, turn it in order to increase decomposition and make a new pile for your fresh organic material. There is no such thing as too much compost for your garden.

7. Plant evergreens

Evergreens offer interest and structure during the dreary winter months. Cooler air temperatures and warm soil make fall the ideal time to fil in the gaps of your borders with evergreens such as Daphne and Sarcococca which have green, glossy leaves and fragrant beautiful flowers even in the middle of the winter. 

For a larger elegant shrub, plant Fatsia or spring-flowering camellias to provide large architectural foliage. For topiary fans, yew is the ideal choice, while holly, bay, and Lonicera nitida make outstanding evergreen hedges or nice formal shapes.  

8. Lift tender species

Before the first frost hits, lift tender species such as cannas, dahlias, and begonias. Cut the stems back, and gently left the rhizomes or tubers from the ground. The clean away the soil and store them in trays with sand or dry compost with only the top of their crowns visible. 

Place the trays in a frost-free and cool area for the winter so they are ready to replant in the spring after all risk of frost is gone. In mild areas, it might be possible to keep tender species protected without lifting them by covering up the crowns using a thick layer of mulch.

9. Net your ponds

In the fall decomposing leaves will turn pond water foul and it will block your pump filter. You can save yourself a lot of effort and time by catching the falling leaves instead of waiting for them to fall into the pond. 

Spread a fine-mesh net across your pond and hold it down with bricks. Take the leaves out of the net that drop onto it and then place them in your compost pile or leaf mold bin. 

10. Maintain your garden equipment

Before putting your lawnmower in the back of the shed until spring, it is a good idea to have it serviced to make sure it is in ideal condition when it is needed again in the spring. 

Shears also need to be sharpened. You can either take them in or do it yourself. Tools such as forks and spades can always use a good washing. Oil metal parts and dry everything thoroughly in order to prevent rust. Clean and protect your wooden handles using linseed oil. Properly dispose of the rags since linseed may combust when it dries.


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